Inspired from Yogi & Author Stephen Cope
Most yoga practitioners can attest to having a similar experience: While practicing asana, feeling a wave of energy arising during a pose. Muscles ripple and dramatically open. Feelings begin to overwhelm our whole being, and turn raw, real. Maybe it’s sadness, grief, elation. After the experience, we feel better: quiet, present, and soft. This is the real secret of yoga – the practice of being present for experience.
Through yoga, we find an orderly, safe, contained technique for making forays into our deeper inner world within ourselves. We first learn to have a full experience of feelings in the body, learning to tolerate the depth, range, and realness of this life force moving in us. We learn how to ride the wave – to be present for the wavelike movement of energy – acknowledging, experiencing, and bearing the inner world of sensation. Through this experience, we can shed the layers that are preventing us from living our best truest version of ourselves. We can cultivate a deep bond with our bright inner light – our wholeness.
Riding The Wave – The Technique (Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow – repeat)
- Breathe – to connect with the wisdom of prana (life force) is conscious breathing – using full yogic breath, or diaphragmatic breathing. The breath immediately penetrates the frozen structures within ourselves. Yoga postures done with conscious breathing are ten times more powerful than they otherwise might be. Because the breath is the switch that integrates the emotional prana-body with the physical body, postures done with conscious breathing open parts of the body that may have long been shut off from the life force. When the wave of breath moves into these exiled areas, the results can sometimes be instantly dramatic. The breath opens our emotional body and through it we can experience a deep reintegration of exiled sensations, feelings, thoughts, and memories.
- Relax – Muscular tension in the body prevents the flow of energy, sensation, and feeling, keeping areas of the body defended against the wave of energy. Even in the more strenuous postures, find parts of your body that you can relax, while still keeping your body safe and while continuing your full yogic breath. This automatically shifts our entire energy experience. It grounds us – what appear to be dense and solid thoughts and feelings become permeable to the wave of energy. We break up locked areas, our inner world becomes transparent to us, and we feel alive again. Relax and keep relaxing.
- Feel – Feeling in this technique is an active state. It doesn’t mean just “having feelings” – it means actively moving toward sensations, the energy, the emotions – and then moving into them. Breathe into them and develop an acuity of our awareness by feeling the whole range of sensations – their color, their texture, their intensity, their mood. We let go of our evaluations and judgements and focus deeply on the sensations without telling any stories to ourselves about what’s happening. We develop a curiosity – where in the body is the feeling most intense, what is the exact texture – are there patterns of movement? As we bring more awareness to exiled aspects of our energy body, we open these previously unconscious areas to the flow of prana. More consciousness results in more wave of life experiences – allowing life to happen.
- Watch – When we watch, we develop our witness consciousness – the zone of neutrality, where we aren’t choosing for or against any type of experience, but we are just being with experience exactly how it is. As we develop witness conscious, intuition arises – a knowing that cannot be experienced through the mind alone. Our attention is focused on “how is it” – not “why it is” or “do I like it”. Witness conscious is worth every ounce of effort to develop.
- Allow – we begin to surrender to the wave of sensation, feeling, and energy. We develop a remarkable freedom to let life as it is touch us, because at our core, we know that everything is already OK. We relinquish our resistance. We don’t have to “make” the wave of life happen – we can just “let it happen”. We don’t have to understand it. Insights may come later, and they often come when we stay present in the experience. This allowing is where life can change us – there’s an amazing sense of freedom – a deep letting go of our grip on life. This kind of surrender requires a willingness to be changed. A willingness to trust life, and to keep our awareness on the energy in motion instead of trying to understand what is happening.
Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch, Allow – Repeat.